Monday, November 22, 2010

My 14 year old daughter is sneaking into the house with her friend

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Comment: I can't believe how close to the mark this answer was with my daughter. It was almost like you knew our relationship. I think you answer was excellent and will use your advice. Thank you so much. I am going to pass this site onto other parents.

Questioner: Joann

Subject: 14 yr old daughter

Question: I caught my 14 year old daughter sneaking back into the house with her friend who was sleeping over at 1:30 am. What is an adequate punishment for this? This is the first time for this but she has had other issues lately like chatting in inappropriate chat rooms and sending her pictures to people she does not know. She has no respect for me as her mother and feels to can do and is entitled to anything she wants. She also has no fear. I know she is headed in the wrong direction. She thinks I am overreacting to her sneaking out of the house. What am I to do.

Answer: Dear Joann:

At any age sneaking out, chatting in inappropriate chat rooms and sending pictures is dangerous however, more so when she is only 14.

If she does not respond to your concerns then by all means shut off the computer. This is what passwords were invented for to keep people off who do not need to be on the computer. She is showing a disregard for her own safety. You need to lock that puppy down until she gets the message.

Insist she watch some of those "catch a predator" shows by 20/20.

She is not "entitled" to make the rules as she is only 14 years of age. However, you can let her know you are willing to make negotiations on certain rules and others are non-negotiable.

I suspect she has had too much leeway in her free time????

Time with friends needs to be earned by her good behavior however be very clear what this behavior is and what it will earn her. Also, when teens are acting out it is very easy for parents to feel overwhelmed by their behavior.

You need to find times when you do agree with her behavior and then let her know how proud you are of her! Find times for the two of you to do things you enjoy together, more one on one time together....focus on your relationship.

As for the sneaking out...well that would be your call. I found taking the telephone privileges away was always an attention getter. For first time infractions just a couple of days (24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours) increasing if the rules were disregarded again, was enough. Teens hate to be cut off from their friends.

Remember the developmental tasks of teens is to practice their socialization skills and to separate from their parents. However, the good news is they rarely want to cut the financial cords until they just have to, these are the last to go! Keep this in mind when you are thinking of handing out money rather than expecting it to be earned. Just a thought!

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller

P.S. If her behavior gets worse and she stays out of control do by all means seek out counseling as you need to get this under control before she gets older and it intensifies. No one wins these power one.

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